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New Food Safety Tests Could Hamper Outbreak Detection

New Food Safety Tests Could Hamper Outbreak Detection

Next generation food safety tests have the upside of easier diagnosis for food poisoning but the downside of an increase in difficulty of spotting and intervening in dangerous outbreaks, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new tests, scientists say, do not distinguish between subtypes of bacteria in the precise fashion which current tests do. The subtype's 'fingerprint' is what is used to trace the illness to the source of infected food.

"These improved tests for diagnosing patients could have the unintended consequence of reducing our ability to detect and investigate outbreaks, ultimately causing more people to become sick," said Dr. John Besser of the CDC.

In order to rectify the situation, doctors, who perform the rapid test, would have to send the sample to a lab which could perform the more precise test. However, it is not clear who would pay for that service.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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